Washington, D.C., January 11, 2022 - Today, Brady applauds President Joe Biden for endorsing changes to Senate rules to ensure that vital voting rights legislation can become law to safeguard and expand participation in our democracy. President Biden’s speech reiterated the need for the Senate to pass the Freedom to Vote Act and the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act, including voiced support for institutional changes to Senate procedure and rules to ensure the federal government protects the fundamental right to vote.
Brady President Kris Brown shared:
“President Biden’s clear endorsement to amend the filibuster rules for voting rights is historic and welcome. The effort to protect the right to vote and participate in our democracy is critical to the effort to pass gun violence prevention. The Freedom to Vote Act and the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act will help to protect and expand our democracy, helping to create a truly representative government where elected officials are responsive to their constituents - including and especially those most affected by gun violence.
If bills to safeguard our democracy cannot pass with a simple majority vote in the Senate, then the Senate’s rules are broken. We have seen the filibuster stop action on common-sense gun violence prevention in the past, evidence that the filibuster is killing us. The Senate cannot be the only institution in the country where popular and common-sense policies die due to entrenched politicization and archaic procedures. The Senate has changed the rules around the filibuster several times in the recent past, including creating 161 exceptions between 1969 and 2014. It can do so again. It is clear that the Senate must eliminate or amend the filibuster to pass these bills at once.”
About the Intersection of Democracy Issues and Gun Violence Prevention:
As laid out in Brady’s Legislative Blueprint for a safer America, we cannot comprehensively and adequately address gun violence until we fix unjust democratic systems. Something is amiss when overwhelming, bipartisan majorities of Americans support common-sense gun violence prevention solutions such as universal background checks, but our government is unable to enact these policies. When our government does not represent the totality of its citizens, it is not responsive to their needs.
When it comes to gun violence prevention, it is not hyperbole to say that this is a matter of life and death. Over 40,000 Americans die from gun violence a year and we know that communities who are continuously shut out of our democratic processes bear a disproportionate amount of that burden. Ensuring that all citizens who want to exercise their right to vote are able to do so freely and easily is vital to enacting common-sense gun laws.
About How #TheFilbusterIsKillingUs:
Gun violence in America is a national emergency. The only thing standing in the way of saving lives is the filibuster. If the Senate were to take up legislation to prevent gun violence tomorrow its fate could be sealed before a single vote is cast because even though 51 Senators make up a majority, the current rules require that 60 Senators agree to even vote on a bill. This arcane rule is known as the “procedural filibuster” and it has been used to block critical progress throughout American history, from civil rights to life-saving gun violence prevention policies.
Gun violence is the second leading cause of death for young people in America, and the leading cause of death for Black children and teens. Every year, tens of thousands of Americans are needlessly killed because of Congress’ inability to pass meaningful laws to prevent gun violence. NRA-backed members of Congress continue to use the procedural filibuster to block solutions to end bloodshed — like universal background checks on gun sales, a federal ban on assault weapons, funding for community-based violence intervention programs, and more. These are common-sense solutions supported by the majority of Americans, including gun owners.
Brady has one powerful mission — to unite all Americans against gun violence. We work across Congress, the courts, and our communities with over 90 grassroots chapters, bringing together young and old, red and blue, and every shade of color to find common ground in common sense. In the spirit of our namesakes Jim and Sarah Brady, we have fought for over 45 years to take action, not sides, and we will not stop until this epidemic ends. It’s in our hands.